The ever-changing education environment requires educators to be innovative and try new things to help students learn effectively. With new technologies, hybrid models and changing landscape of education, it is more important than ever to ensure that students learn and enjoy their journey. Trying varied teaching practices can help educators enhance their instruction and find effective teaching practices (pedagogies) that work and drive learning outcomes.
Another key reason for trying new teaching practices is identifying common teaching methods that fit the students’ learning needs.
In this post, we have mentioned ten different teaching practices (not in order) and how they can benefit educators and students.
Differentiated instruction is a popular and effective teaching strategy that addresses students’ vivid learning needs through diverse learning styles, adjusted content and processes.
Carol Ann Tomlinson, an expert on differentiated instruction, recommends analysing teaching strategies constantly to respond to needs. She says, “Frequently reflect on the match between your classroom and the philosophy of teaching and learning you want to practice. Look for matches and mismatches, and use both to guide you.”
There are multiple ways to make way for differentiated instruction. Strategies like flexible learning stations and think-pair-share are a few methods that educators can incorporate to provide unique learning experiences to students.
Here’s an article on Top Strategies For Differentiated Instruction that educators can use in their pedagogy. Check this out to access top strategies and critical elements to provide differentiated instruction.
Technology Accessible Learning
You’re losing the game if you’re not incorporating technology in classrooms. Technology is an essential element for learning in today’s age. It makes learning effective and efficient to a great extent. Whether teaching in a conventional classroom or virtual environment, technology should be readily accessible to students. It enhances the learning experience, enriches content, provides a customised education experience and more.
Another critical reason you must use edtech is that today’s students haven’t seen a world without technology. They grew up in environments where technology was pervasive. They are used to learning through smart devices and feel comfortable in digital learning. It’s an efficient way to provide content, and students find it easier to access information and learn through it. Using technology can help you up your teaching game in ways you haven’t seen before. Consider using digital content, polls, quizzes, and learning videos to practice flipped learning, games and other available tech that can enhance the learning experience for students.
Breaking Up The Work
Assigning too much work can overwhelm students and disarray their learning capacity. You can see a change in their performance by assigning short, manageable tasks. Students feel at ease completing bite-sized assignments/tasks and can perform better. This modern teaching technique is similar to bite-sized learning. You can split your lessons into multiple parts and cover each piece one by one. This approach lets students absorb and retain more information. With a lesson broken down into smaller parts, assignments or activities, students can focus on each item better and learn better.
Check out this list of Tools Teachers Must Use To Create Microlearning Content that can help you create and manage bite-sized portions of your lessons, activities, assignments, etc.
Homework load can stress students and demotivate them. Work towards minimising homework and limiting it to reasonable quantities. Always give students enough time to complete their assignments in the classroom. Only if necessary should they take the assignment home. For assessments, sharing a layout beforehand can help students feel prepared and focus on things they have to learn. Often, students get stuck in the loop of worrying about the exam pattern and preparation. Sharing an exam layout will help students feel prepared and put their best forward.
Classroom gamification can help you engage students and deliver learning content and instruction through games. We cannot deny a child’s love for video games. Leveraging this for teaching and learning can amplify the learning experience for students. They can focus better and build essential soft skills through gamified learning.
A few things to keep in mind while incorporating gamification are:
- Structuring problems effectively to understand what works best
- Ensuring that progress is visible for students and educators,
- Creating a manual that entails the game’s do’s, don’ts and rules.
Also, read this post that entails some ways to apply gaming into education.
Convergent And Divergent Thinking
Convergent thinking requires understanding how to use separate pieces of information to reach one solution. It is usually used to answer questions requiring limited skills and knowledge, like multiple-choice questions, polls, etc.
Divergent thinking requires students to start with one prompt and think critically, so it diverges towards distinct answers. Examples would be creative writing, essay-writing, brainstorming and creative analysing.
Convergent thinking is an essential component in building math fluency, and divergent thinking helps students understand the base concepts. They are crucial skills in any subject. Once you thoroughly understand these, you’ll be able to implement them in the classroom allowing your students to learn better and understand complex topics.
Also, read the following articles on design thinking that can help you get started with convergent and divergent thinking.
Classrooms are filled with students with different learning styles, and it can be difficult for educators to address such diversity effectively. Experiential learning can help educators engage and involve students in the learning process. Conventional teaching is teacher-focused, has fixed assessment styles, uses knowledge transfer to explain concepts, and involves a high degree of facilitation.
In contrast, experiential learning focuses on providing an engaging learning experience for students. It comprises of student-centred approach, flexible and open learning outcomes, develops knowledge through experiences, minimum facilitation, and ensures that students engage in new ways of learning that help them stay focused and learn faster and dynamically.
Peer To Peer Teaching
Peer-to-peer teaching is a classic way to engage students and help them develop reasoning and critical thinking skills. Because the pedagogy requires students to engage with their peers, it motivates them to do better. A key challenge in peer-to-peer teaching is addressing different proficiency levels of students, as it can be difficult for some students with lower proficiency and can lead to confidentiality issues about which students are struggling.
A few practices to get started are:
- Explain to students how they can give feedback to their peers and do a small feedback session at the end of a lesson. This can be based on a small quiz.
- Students can provide written prompts to guide discussions on a topic.
- Running peer editing sessions classwide is a great way to take it a step ahead once you see students getting comfortable with your peer-to-peer teaching strategy.
Here’s a comprehensive list of best practices for peer-to-peer learning. Check it out to understand different strategies you can use to facilitate peer-to-peer teaching-learning. Also, read Merits Of Peer To Peer Teaching & Learning.
Media surrounds students, and their media consumption is endless. From TV to social media to digital comics and other content, students seem to be occupied with consuming one or different kinds of media. Students must be mindful of their media consumption and make the right choices while navigating the internet. Guiding students in making the right choices while consuming media allows them to recognise bias and develop critical thinking skills. As educators, you can educate students about media literacy and use various activities to ensure they understand the concept thoroughly.
Check out this list of resources For Media & Information Literacy, including Activities and Assignments.
It may sound cliché, but a growth mindset is necessary. It can help students understand the value of effort, consistency and risk in their learning environments. It’ll push them to try and learn new things. It’s a new teaching strategy, and teachers are still trying it out. Some may find it challenging to implement; here’s how you can get started:
- Provide positive feedback to students when they try new things and methods.
- Promote a diverse classroom so students can quickly embrace diverse ideas and perspectives in their future learning goals. This also helps them widen their horizons as individuals.
- Encourage goal-based journaling. Students set goals but hardly reflect on their progress. Journaling is a very effective method to achieve your goals. Asking students to goal-journal will help them track their progress in achieving their goals. Ensure they use the SMART way (Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic and Time-Based) for maximum effect.
Practising these strategies can bring life to the classroom and help students and educators make the most out of their teaching and learning journeys.